Arsenal make it to UCL group stages

The team had an easy win to qualify for the 16th consecutive time.

Champions League Trophy. Picture: AFP

BERNE - Schalke 04, who were held 1-1 at home by PAOK last week, scored twice after being reduced to 10 men to win 3-2 in the second leg and reach the Champions' League group stage on Tuesday.

There were also dramatic playoff victories for Austria Vienna and Steaua Bucharest.

Steaua Bucharest, who were held 1-1 at home by Legia Warsaw in the first leg, took advantage of a calamitous opening by the Polish side to go 2-0 ahead in only nine minutes.

Austria Vienna, having apparently squandered their chances by conceding three goals at home to Dinamo Zagreb, produced a late rally to go down 3-2 and qualify for the first time while Steaua edged Legia Warsaw on away goals in another topsy-turvy match.

In contrast, Arsenal, as expected, cruised into the group stage for the 16th time in a row, beating Fenerbahce 2-0 at the Emirates.

Aaron Ramsey scored twice to complete a 5-0 aggregate win.

FC Basel made equally light work of Ludogorets Razgrad.

The Swiss champions, who did the hard work by winning 4-2 in Bulgaria last week, duly won the return 2-0.

The five qualifiers will earn handsome payouts as each of the 32 teams in the group stage receive a basic fee of €8.6 million plus a €1 million for each win and €500,000 for each draw.

They also stand to receive further income from UEFA's television rights and sponsorship pool.

Vienna became the first Austrian side to qualify for the group stage in eight years as they survived a torrid evening at home to Dinamo, who sacked coach Krunoslav Jurcic after losing the first leg 2-0.